With 3D printing becoming a major impetus in cultivating startup culture, Florida International University (FIU) is launching a MakerBot Innovation Lab, a 3,000-square-foot makerspace for students and community members to develop product ideas and conduct research. Set to be equipped with 30 state-of-the-art 3D printers and four 3D scanners, the space can serve up to 60 students at a time, with one 3D printer between every two work stations. The school bagged a $185,000 grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation to build the facility.
“Miami’s entrepreneurial ecosystem has seen enormous growth over the last few years—adding co-working spaces, mentor and funder networks, educational offerings and a host of events,” Matt Haggman, program director of the Knight Foundation, said in a statement. “But there are few established makerspaces where entrepreneurs can experiment and build. The MakerBot Innovation Lab will help to fill this gap, providing the next generation of Miami talent with a space to realize their ideas and inviting the community to connect toward building a stronger startup culture in our city.”
FIU’s College of Architecture + The Arts will be the only arts/design college in the nation to house a MakerBot Innovation Lab, according to John Stuart, associate dean for cultural and community engagement and executive director of Miami Beach Urban Studios. The lab’s launch creates abundant educational opportunities as well as a space for public programs. The makerspace will support workshops for elementary and middle school students, dual enrollment programs for high school students, for-credit classes for FIU students and startup programs for recent graduates.
FIU’s Urban Studios, a creative space for the performing and fine arts, will work with FIU colleagues and students in hospitality, medicine, and other disciplines to conceive projects to fulfill a community need, such as outfitting homes to be safer for the disabled. The school will also collaborate with Miami Beach–based Rokk3r Labs, a company “co-builder,” to hold workshops, seminars and other programming within the Makerbot Innovation Lab.